Legal Edge: Michigan parents denied legal rights to their babes due to outdated law

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – A West Michigan family has been battling the courts for the rights to their own biological children.

The family, Jordan and Tammy Myers, used a surrogate to have their twins.

Tammy Myers was left unable to carry more children after a five-year battle with breast cancer.

While in the hospital allowed the parents to visit, a 1988 law called the Surrogate Parenting Act is denying them their parental rights.

“There’s a provision in the law that says this … ‘a surrogate-parent contract is void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy,'” said Bryan Waldman, an attorney with Sinas Dramis Law firm.

Lauren VerMilye, the Myer’s surrogate, says she fully supports the couple’s effort to establish legal parentage.

However, there’s nothing a judge can do, said Waldman. Only the legislature can fix this.

Judges have ruled in favor of surrogate births in the past, but the judges in this case did not.

6 News sister station, WoodTV 8, covered this story earlier this year.

According to WoodTV, the Myers’ attorney later sought to establish Jordan Myers as the twins’ father through the Michigan Paternity Act, but Kent County Family Court Judge Scott Noto dismissed that request on Jan. 15.

“What the parties essentially are asking this court to do is validate and enforce a (surrogacy) contract that the Michigan Legislature has expressly declared void and unenforceable as a matter of public policy,” wrote Noto in an opinion and order

The parents now have to go through a lengthy adoption process in order to become the legal parents of their babies – and get them on their health insurance.

Michigan is one of only three states to outright ban surrogate-parent agreements, alongside Nebraska and Louisiana.

In 2016, two state senators introduced a bill to legalize surrogate-parent agreements, but the bill did not pass.

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